I can’t tell you how many patients booked with me this September saying their appointment goal was to “get back on track”. But for each of them, that meant a different treatment plan.
Some of them had started to experience new symptoms, after resolving old ones. Their body was sending them messages they needed help to decipher and resolve. I had some patients return after years, just for a “tune up”. Some of them had new lab work ordered by other physicians to go over. Some of them booked with me to get new lab work done to ensure their healing. Some of them were finally ready to really tackle their health. Some were ready to quit addictions. Some were ready to detox to prepare for conceiving a healthy child. Some wanted to do a modified, individualized, “mini cleanse” as a way to hit the reset button. And many of them came because the change in season had triggered cold/flu symptoms that needed treatment.
But for all of them, it meant refocusing. Getting back into a more structured routine after a break. Even I cherish the break in routine that summer affords my family, as they all take time off of school. I love getting away and getting together with friends and family. But then once my guys all go back to school in September, I once again love to buckle down and get down to business. Here are a few ways that I’ve gotten back on track.
Meal planning for the week ahead is essential for preventing meal time stress, but can be hard to do with all of the activity that summer brings. Aim to sit down with your household, or connect with yourself, to choose recipes on the same day each week. Going to the farmer’s market first, and then creating your meal plan to include the foods you’ve gathered, will help you eat in season and increase variety in your diet.
You may want to double your recipes so that you (and your kids) can pack left-overs for lunch. Do this when you’re cleaning up from supper, to prevent feeling rushed in the morning. I love this lunch packing chart from Nourishing Meals to help kids compose nutritious lunches that they’ll actually eat because they chose it themselves.
A simple meditation practice can go a long way to help you focus your intentions. Smiling mind is a wonderful free app that has meditation programs for all ages and goals. My kids love it. Just 10 minutes on waking and/or going to bed can create clarity, calm and contentment. Headspace is another free mindfulness app that can get you started with its Take 10 program. Subscriptions offer more specific sessions as you advance.
Commit to a consistent exercise program. Book this essential “me-time” into your calendar to help to de-stress. Many local yoga studios offer $40 one-month unlimited memberships so that you can try all of the classes offered to find your perfect fit. Simply walking outside throughout the week connects you to nature, compounding the stress reducing and immune enhancing effects of exercise. Many apps help you track the time you spend moving your body. Charity miles is a free app that allows you to donate to the charity of your choosing based on the distance you walk, run, or cycle.
Eat to support your immune system. Increase colourful fruits and veggies for their flavonoid content. Eat onion, garlic and chilis for their antimicrobial properties. Click here to download my recipe for immune boosting soup, full of immune-enhancing nutrients and herbs. Try fermented foods to optimize gut flora, which interacts with immune cells present in the gut. (Did you know that over 70% of your immune system resides in your gut?) Enjoy pickled veggies, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha. Choose naturally raised or organic meats that do not contain antibiotics (which can kill off good gut bacteria). Limit sugar and processed foods as they suppress immune function.
Being proactive about your health means checking in with your professional health care providers.
Supplements that have been shown to prevent and decrease the duration and severity of colds and flu include vitamin D. Without sufficient amounts, your body’s immune cells lose their ability to destroy infections. Have your levels tested by your naturopathic doctor or family physician in order to determine the most appropriate dose for you.
Everyone is different and individualized treatment plans help you achieve the best results.